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Anno accademico2021/22
PeriodoSecondo semestre

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Learning outcomes

The students successfully completing this course will acquire solid knowledge on nuclear fusion reactions and their adoption in magnetic and inertial confinement configurations for power production, as a source of future energy. Advanced knowledge will be achieved on Tokamak machine, with a detailed understanding of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor main components and auxiliary systems.

Assessment criteria of knowledge

During an oral interview, the students will be assessed on their ability to properly discuss the course topics using appropriate terminology. Moreover, the capability to summarize and compare fundamental principles of the course contents will be evaluated


The following main skills are provided by the course:

  • capability to understand fusion reactions and their implication in fusion reaction energy balance;
  • capability to understand the plasma peculiarities for fusion reactors;
  • capability to understand and compare magnetic confinement configurations (tokamak, stellarator and reversed field pinch) and inertial confinement;
  • capability to understand the objectives and configuration of ITER machine.
Assessment criteria of skills

During an oral interview, the skills acquired by the students will be assessed, evaluating the comprehension degree and capability to connect different topic of the course


Students will acquire and/or develop an awareness on peaceful exploitation of nuclear fusion energy source. Students will acquire sensibility and understanding of complex plant systems, on the basis of the studied ITER configuration

Assessment criteria of behaviors

The oral interview will ascertain the personal attitude of the student by proposing questions and problems related to fusion reaction engineering


Basic knowledge and skills of Mathematics, Physics and Electromagnetism at BSc level. Capabilities to understand plant schemes and assembly of components

Teaching methods

Front and distance (live online by Microsoft Teams) lessons, with the help of slides and movies


The course covers the following topics:

  • Main fusion reactions, cross sections, mass defect, Coulomb barrier and fusion reaction rate;
  • Energy balance in fusion reactors and Lawson criteria;
  • Plasma characteristics (Debye length, plasma parameter, plasma frequency, electrical conductivity), plasma energy losses and plasma heating;
  • Plasma magnetic confinement: Lorentz force, single particle motion drifts, Magnetohydrodynamics (radial pressure forces and toroidal forces), beta parameter;
  • Magnetic mirrors and toroidal closed confinement configurations (tokamak, stellarator, reversed field pinch);
  • ITER machine: tokamak main components (cryostat, magnets, vacuum vessel, blanket, divertor and thermal shielding) and auxiliary systems (cooling, vacuum, cryogenic, fuel, remote handling and tritium breeding system);
  • Other types of nuclear fusion: "inertial fusion", "muonic fusion", etc.
  • Hybrid reactors and their application to the nuclear fuel cycle closure.

The main teaching material is constituted of slides presented during the lectures, available as PDF file through Microsoft Teams. More details can be found in the following textbooks:

Jeffrey P. Freidberg, “Plasma Physics and Fusion Energy”, 1st edition 2008, Cambridge University Press;

A. A. Harms, K. F. Schoepf, G. H. Miley and D. R. Kingdon, “Principles of Fusion Energy”, June 2000, World Scientific.

Non-attending students info

There are not variations (about program, exam, bibliography etc.) for non-attending students.

Lectures will be provided live by Microsoft Teams platform, at the "Team" dedicated to this course: 417II 21/22 "Engineering of Fusion Reactors". The slides of the lectures, in .pdf format, will be uploaded in the “File” section of the Course Team.

Assessment methods

The student preparation will be evaluated during one oral test. It consists of an interview between the candidate and exam commission (of which the lecturer is the president). During the oral test the candidate could be requested to also solve written problems/exercises in front of the commission.

The exam is considered passed if the student provides a sufficiently correct answer to the proposed questions.

It is not possible to pass the test if the candidate shows an inability to express him/herself in a clear manner using the correct terminology, or if the candidate does not respond sufficiently to questions regarding the most fundamental part of the course. The test will not have a positive outcome if the candidate repeatedly demonstrates an incapacity to relate and link parts of the programme with notions and ideas that he/her must combine in order to correctly respond to a question

It is not necessary to pass intermediate tests, completed educational projects, follow seminar or lab activities for attending the exam.

Work placement

Stages, internships and collaborations with third parts are not required for this course


For any further information contact the teacher at the email

Ultimo aggiornamento 19/07/2021 16:52